ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \
exacted; exacting; exacts

Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to call for forcibly or urgently and obtain from them has been exacted the ultimate sacrifice— D. D. Eisenhower
2 : to call for as necessary or desirable



Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exhibiting or marked by strict, particular, and complete accordance with fact or a standard
2 : marked by thorough consideration or minute measurement of small factual details

Other Words from exact


exactable \ ig-​ˈzak-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exact (audio) \ adjective
exactor or less commonly exacter \ ig-​ˈzak-​tər How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun


exactness \ ig-​ˈzak(t)-​nəs How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for exact


demand, claim, require, exact mean to ask or call for something as due or as necessary. demand implies peremptoriness and insistence and often the right to make requests that are to be regarded as commands. demanded payment of the debt claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right. claimed the right to manage his own affairs require suggests the imperativeness that arises from inner necessity, compulsion of law or regulation, or the exigencies of the situation. the patient requires constant attention exact implies not only demanding but getting what one demands. exacts absolute loyalty


correct, accurate, exact, precise, nice, right mean conforming to fact, standard, or truth. correct usually implies freedom from fault or error. correct answers socially correct dress accurate implies fidelity to fact or truth attained by exercise of care. an accurate description exact stresses a very strict agreement with fact, standard, or truth. exact measurements precise adds to exact an emphasis on sharpness of definition or delimitation. precise calibration nice stresses great precision and delicacy of adjustment or discrimination. makes nice distinctions right is close to correct but has a stronger positive emphasis on conformity to fact or truth rather than mere absence of error or fault. the right thing to do

Did you know?

Exact derives from a form of the Latin verb exigere, meaning "to drive out, to demand, or to measure." (Another descendant of exigere is the word exigent, which can mean "demanding" or "requiring immediate attention.") Exigere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix ex- with the verb agere, meaning "to drive." Agere has been a prolific source of words for English speakers; it is the ancestor of agent, react, mitigate, and navigate, just to name a few. Incidentally, if you are looking for a synonym of the verb exact, you could try demand, call for, claim, or require.

Do you exact or extract revenge?


The verb exact (as in, "exacting revenge" or "exacting a promise") is not as commonly encountered as the adjective exact, (as in "an exact copy" or "exact measurements"). Sometimes people will mistakenly use the more common verb extract when they really want exact. Extract can refer to removing something by pulling or cutting or to getting information from someone who does not want to give it. While both words refer to getting something they are used in different ways. You extract a tooth, but you exact revenge.

Examples of exact in a Sentence

Verb They would not rest until they had exacted revenge. He was able to exact a promise from them. Adjective Those were his exact words. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. We don't know the exact nature of the problem. Predicting the path of hurricanes is not an exact science. The police have an exact description of the killer. Please take the most exact measurements possible. He is very exact in the way he solves a problem. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The move came after Martin helped energize the bench over the first half of the season, before injuries began to exact a toll. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 5 June 2022 This compromise is shown to exact a brutal toll in somber bookending scenes set near the end of Sassoon’s life. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2022 As Russia continued to bombard cities across Ukraine, the war began to exact an increasing toll beyond the battlefield and inside Russia itself. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Her death underscores the heavy price the conflict continues to exact on Palestinians. Aya Batrawy, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2022 As the fighting, now in its third week, continues to exact a grievous human toll in Ukraine with Russian troops bombarding many of the country’s most populous cities, the number of those crossing into the EU has begun to slowly wane in recent days. chicagotribune.com, 14 Mar. 2022 But the number of new coronavirus deaths that medical examiners are confirming remains in the double digits each day, as January’s surge from the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus continues to exact a toll. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Feb. 2022 Despite allowing Syracuse to exact revenge from its 2020 loss, the Flames have a potential first-round NFL Draft selection in quarterback Malik Willis. Evan Dudley, al, 28 Sep. 2021 The numbers are estimates and not exact counts, said Ethan Chernofsky, the company’s vice president of marketing. Chase Difeliciantonio, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The artwork is estimated to be worth $5 million; however, museum officials are not yet certain of the exact amount. Stephanie Wenger, PEOPLE.com, 3 June 2022 Times journalists spent more than a year sifting through thousands of pages of archival papers, ledgers and correspondences to calculate the exact amount that Haiti paid France: $560 million in today’s dollars. New York Times, 22 May 2022 But with Pritzker’s signature on the tax relief plan, that bump will be pushed off until Jan. 1, with the exact amount of the increase to be determined by where inflation stands at the end of September. Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2022 The exact amount Americans pay for insulin varies quite widely, depending on their insurance coverage and which version of the medication they’re prescribed. Jing Luo, The Conversation, 9 May 2022 Made to easily remove even thicker, curly hair with absolute ease, this splurge-worthy hair remover applies the exact amount of pressure needed for a smooth and thorough shave that won't irritate skin. Isadora Baum, Allure, 5 May 2022 The exact amount differs according to the state of the economy. Maria Jimenez Moya, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2022 You might be tempted to bump prices up by the exact amount of your new production costs—a thoughtful move that protects the bottom line without making an unnecessary play for greater profits. Kyle Leighton, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 However, the exact amount of time will vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of their arthritis. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of exact


1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exact


Middle English exacten "to require as payment," borrowed from Latin exāctus, past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, enforce payment of or the performance of (a task), require, inquire into, examine" from ex- ex- entry 1 + agere "to drive (cattle), be in motion, do, perform" — more at agent


borrowed from Latin exāctus, from past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, require, inquire into, examine, measure" — more at exact entry 1

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Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exact. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for exact


ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \

Kids Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: completely correct or precise : accurate an exact copy the exact time

Other Words from exact

exactly adverb
exactness noun


exacted; exacting

Kids Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

: to demand and get by force or threat They exacted terrible revenge.

More from Merriam-Webster on exact

Nglish: Translation of exact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exact for Arabic Speakers


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